Cincinnati Cop Who Fatally Shot Unarmed Man Was Wearing a Confederate Flag Shirt Under His Uniform|
Ray Tensing, the police officer who killed 43-year-old Sam DuBose, wore a shirt depicting the Confederate flag the night he killed DuBose.
Tensing’s trial began this week in Cincinnati, Ohio, where he is facing charges of murder and voluntary manslaughter. During the presentation of evidence, prosecutors brought forth a T-shirt with the Confederate flag emblazoned across the chest, which Officer Tensing — a former University of Cincinnati police officer — was wearing at the time of DuBose’s killing. The Confederate flag is widely regarded as a symbol of racism and white supremacy, and is often used as a favored prop of white nationalists and other hate groups.
On July 19, 2015, when Tensing killed DuBose, Tensing, who is white, stopped DuBose for a missing front license plate on his Honda Accord. According to Tensing’s police report, DuBose suddenly drove forward while Tensing was attempting to question him, dragging him on the ground. Tensing argued that he shot DuBose out of fear for his own life. However, during the review of the incident provided by body cam footage, Tensing killed DuBose after just 0.178 seconds of movement.
Scot Haug, the chief of police for Post Falls, Idaho, was brought in to testify as an expert on police use of force. Haug testified that while he agreed the situation was “tense, rapidly evolving, and uncertain,” DuBose at no point presented any visible threat to Officer Tensing.
“I think the officer, based on his decision at the time, escalated the situation and then reacted to that escalation,” Haug said.
DuBose, who was unarmed at the time of the shooting, is remembered as a motorcycle enthusiast, entrepreneur, and father to 13 children. If convicted, Tensing would serve at least 15 years, and as much as the rest of his life, in prison.
Zach Cartwright is an activist and author from Richmond, Virginia. He enjoys writing about politics, government, and the media. Send him an email at [email protected], and follow his work on the Public Banking Institute blog.